Willis, the international insurance intermediary and risk management company, has launched a river flood risk assessment system which, it claims, will help insurers and other companies to estimate the threat posed by flooding.

The technology behind the system – synthetic aperture radar – uses radar to measure the land surface below.

Willis worked with Canadian company, Internap Technologies, to fly over the Thames capturing details of the height of the land. The flooding risk estimates were then calculated.

"It has applications to all countries and we are already seeing interest from the USA and Germany," said Willis' managing director of insurance consulting services Oliver Peterken.

Meanwhile, Direct Line Insurance will have information about flooding patterns of Britain's rivers to underwrite its household policies following a deal with Intermediary Systems (IS).

IS' Perspective River Flood model (known as a peril data model) provides flood risk information to a 50-metre grid resolution.